A “riveting” (The Wall Street Journal) biography of one of the most influential and controversial scientists in Western history
Acclaimed historian and biographer Paul Johnson turns his keen eye on Charles Darwin, the towering figure whose work continues to spur scientific debate.
With his publication of On the Origin of Species, Darwin forever changed our concept of the world. While Johnson praises Darwin’s extraordinary skills as a natural scientist and his monumental achievements, he does not sidestep Darwin’s tragic failures as an anthropologist. Johnson argues that by applying his theory of natural selection to humans, Darwin provided a platform for the burgeoning eugenics movement. Lay readers and academics alike will enjoy this concise and unflinching exploration of Charles Darwin, a genius whose discoveries—even the flawed ones—add significant dimension to our understanding of his mind, the era in which he lived, and his everlasting impact on our world.
Eminent historian Paul Johnson provides a rich, succinct portrait of Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin is arguably the most influential scientist of all time. His Origin of Species forever changed our concept of the world’s creation.
Darwin’s revolutionary career is the perfect vehicle for historian Paul Johnson. Marked by the insightful observation, spectacular wit, and highly readable prose for which Johnson is so well regarded, Darwin brings the gentleman-scientist and his times brilliantly into focus. From Darwin’s birth into great fortune to his voyage aboard the Beagle, to the long-delayed publication of his masterpiece, Johnson delves into what made this Victorian gentleman into a visionary scientist—and into the tragic flaws that later led Darwin to support the burgeoning eugenics movement.
Johnson’s many admirers as well as history and science buffs will be grateful for this superb account of Darwin and the everlasting impact of his discoveries.
Praise for Darwin: “Riveting . . . The ‘genius’ of Paul Johnson’s biography of Charles Darwin is manifestly, impressively apparent [in his discussion of] On the Origin of Species.” —Wall Street Journal
“Excellent and courageous.” —Michael Flannery,author of Alfred Russel Wallace
“This little sketch reminds us why Darwin’s theory of natural selection endures and continues to provoke controversy.” —Publishers Weekly
“This is a first-rate biography, one that brings Darwin and his ideas into brilliant focus.” —History Book Club
“Characteristically pithy and incisive, the ever-popular Johnson offers a Darwin who will be much in demand.” —Booklist